Quinnipiac’s head coach Baker Dunleavy reacts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Villanova Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Philadelphia. Villanova won 86-53. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
- The Quinnipiac Bobcats (5-7, 3-5 MAAC) host the Canisius Golden Griffins (3-3, 3-3 MAAC) Friday, Feb. 12
- The Griffs haven’t played a game since Jan. 2, while the Bobcats fell to Fairfield Monday
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The Quinnipiac Bobcats (5-7, 3-5 MAAC), with their 74th-rated adjusted tempo in the country, hosts the Canisius Golden Griffins (3-3, 3-3 MAAC) Friday, Feb. 12. Tip is set for 1pm ET at the TD Bank Sports Center.
The Bobcats are slight favorites to handle the Griffs.
Canisius vs Quinnipiac Odds
|Canisius||+3 (-105)||N/A||Ov 132.5 (-110)|
|Quinnipiac||-3 (-115)||N/A||Un 132.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Feb. 11 at FanDuel
This Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tilt should be interesting for at least one reason: the two teams have combined to play only 18 games in this coronavirus-affected campaign. Only three teams in the entire nation have played fewer games than the Griffs. American and Howard have only played four games and New Mexico State has logged five.
Meantime, Quinnipiac is holding teams to an effective field goal percentage of only 42.5% on the defensive end — good for third-best in the NCAA.
The last time we saw the Griffs play a game, head coach Reggie Witherspoon’s team was closing out the back end of a two-game home sweep of Saint Peter’s on New Year’s weekend. Junior guard Ahamadou Fofana exploded in the second half, scoring all of his game-high 17 points to seal the win.
Since then, the Blue and Gold have gone completely off-the-radar due to rampant COVID issues that have wreaked havoc on numerous MAAC programs. Canisius’ current pause ranks as the third-longest active stretch without a game, behind only Howard and conference-mate Iona. How the time away from game action affects the Griffs remains to be seen.
As for the last images we saw, Fofana’s aggressive drives against the Peacocks — and his ability to draw fouls — proved to be the difference nearly seven weeks ago. Seven of 17 points came from the free-throw line in the game’s final 36 seconds. If Fofana takes that approach again, the Bobcats will have their hands full.
Just Like We Drew It Up
Quinnipiac is coming off a 77-70 loss to Fairfield that featured an odd shooting display by Baker Dunleavy’s squad. The ‘Cats were on fire from outside, going 12-of-24 (50%) from three-point range. But Quinnipiac only managed a 9-of-29 (31%) effort on two-point field goals. That disparity proved to be too much in trying to win a third-straight game after losing four straight.
Career-high 2️⃣1️⃣ points for @1tymu yesterday!
➡️ 6-of-7 3FG 🔥 pic.twitter.com/CvEAIP93uE
— Quinnipiac Men’s Basketball (@QU_MBB) February 9, 2021
First-year wing Tymu Chenery scored a career-high 21 points for the Bobcats in the seven-point loss and was a big part of the shooting spree, going 6-of-7 from distance. The team’s leading scorer, senior Jacob Rigoni, added 17 points.
Quinnipiac is actually rated lower by KenPom (No. 269) than Canisius (No. 238) overall — but, as noted above, is one of the elite defensive units in the nation when it comes to giving opponents shooting fits. The Bobcats are rated No. 6 when it comes to defending two-points shots at 42.6% and No. 12 defending three-point shots at 28.5%.
This ability to shut down the opponent takes on added significance considering the Griffs’ long layoff. If early shots don’t fall, will Canisius get frustrated and throw in the towel?
In The Blood
If Quinnipiac’s head coach’s last name looks familiar, it should. Fourth-year head coach Baker Dunleavy is the son of longtime NBA head coach Mike Dunleavy. But Baker has accomplished some things on the sideline in his own right. The 38-year-old was part of Jay Wright’s staff at Villanova when the Wildcats won the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
@JacobRigoni has been an incredible leader in our program for 4 years. Happy for him – plenty more to come! https://t.co/YRcOcNRWkW
— Baker Dunleavy (@BakerDunleavy) January 24, 2021
The ‘Nova alum gave his Aussie import a shout-out on social media a couple weeks ago. It’s that kind of connection with the program’s players that give them buy-in.
The Bobcats have underperformed a bit so far this season. The ‘Cats were picked to finish seventh in the league in the MAAC preseason poll and are currently eighth in the conference standings. Canisius, despite its lack of games, has overperformed. The Blue and Gold were picked to finish 10th, but currently occupy sixth place.
But despite ratings and standings, I love the home team in this spot. KenPom predicts Quinnipiac will win 69-68. I think the Bobcats win by more than a point and cover easily against a rusty Canisius group.
The pick: Quinnipiac -3 (-115)
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.